Reality bites…

As much as I am a positive person, always trying to see the best in every situation, yesterday, the reality of what has happened really started to bite. I’m pretty sure that this is completely natural but it actually took me by surprise as I thought that I was dealing with it all quite well and I was going to get back to normality no problems at all. The day started as usual with the craziness of having to get the kids, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, hair brushed… ok, the last one never happens…. and then out to school. I then went on my daily walk, up to get a hot chocolate from Chapel Allerton, sorted out some admin type stuff and then saw my lovely NCT friend Sarah… she is an absolute blast and has a very similar sense of humour to me and we just hit it off from the first day we met on an overly warm summers day in 2011, 9 months pregnant and faced with an NCT instructor who claimed that giving birth wasn’t painful…. I beg to differ on that front. It was after she left that I started to notice a shift in what I was feeling. I can’t even explain it, I was watching Queer Eye on Netflix and I just started to feel really really sad, worried and anxious. What was I going to do as time went on and ‘life’ started to get back to normal? How was I going to cope? The fact that something pretty life changing had happened in a matter of weeks and I don’t actually think I had had time to process it properly…. Sheffield hospital and the NHS have been amazing and have simply saved my life and this is no reflection on my treatment at all, but I do feel a bit spat out of the system….they saw the problem, dealt with it, the job has been done…. I now have to work out how to deal with everything else. When I came out of hospital, I was armed with leaflets which are given in a sort of pack, around eating healthily if you have cancer, how to talk to your kids about cancer, numbers to ring to sort out free prescriptions and numbers to ring to talk to someone, which are all really informative…. but everything was quite general about cancer…. nothing really about eye cancer…. I have the OcuMelUK Facebook group which is great with practical advice, but I started to feel very overwhelmed over where to start getting other help or who to talk to…. do I deserve any of this?… is what I had/have really proper cancer? What if I am taking up the time of someone who is really needed somewhere else…?’ I am a really proactive person and I like to think that I am resilient, but I am finding these thoughts quite frightening… It’s especially frightening at night time when my thoughts and imagination just go wild. I’ve been having some quite vivid dreams and have woken up in tears a few times crying out for help. The daily adaptation to only having one eye is a constant struggle. I know that everything will adapt but there is no time frame on this. No one can tell me that it will take a few weeks, months or a few years…. Mr Me-myself-and-eye (who has been absolutely remarkable over the last few weeks) has been bathing my eye twice a day since the op and last night, he had to open up the ‘eye’ to clean it. This was the first time that I had had the experience of my ‘bad eye’ being open and me not being able to see anything. My reaction wasn’t great as the reality hit me of not being able to see. I felt frustrated, sad and an overwhelming sense of grief in the pit of my stomach which I am still struggling to shift. Sleep last night was brief and the tears have been aplenty today so far. I actually wanted to hide away today and not get out of bed at all but I am super grateful to Liz who took me out for a walk this morning, Holly for bringing round enough food to feed the family for a week, Hels Bells who took me for a hot chocolate and my mum, who is superwoman. Fact. I know that this phrase is banded around too much these days, but I am blessed to have such amazing people in my life who are around whenever I need them. (you all know who you are) They will hold me up, dry my tears, listen to my waffling even when I feel that I am breaking. So I think that I am in another stage of grief and loss. I have contacted the Robert Ogden Macmillan centre up at St James’s hospital who I am going to visit tomorrow and despite me saying that I would be going back to work by the end of this week, I have decided to take a bit more time to process and understand what I am going through. As a very wise woman said today, ‘You are so good at taking care of everyone else and making them feel empowered and ready to take on the world, you need to do that for yourself.’ And from one of my all time favourite films: “I saw the sun begin to dim And felt that winter wind Blow cold A woman learns who is there for her When the glitter fades and the walls won’t hold ‘Cause from then, rubble One remains Can only be what’s true If all was lost Is more I gain ‘Cause it led me back To you” Captain Corne xx

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